Wednesday, June 5, 2013

HUBRIS AND OTHER "WE DON'T GIVE A FLYING F*** WHAT YOU THINK", OPEN WIDE AND TAKE THE MEDS


Sebelius Asked Companies to Support Health Care Law

Administration officials say the health care law needs private support because Congress has provided less money than Mr. Obama requested for a public education and outreach campaign. Public opinion surveys show that many people who could benefit are unaware of the options. ~~ perhaps the majority of Americans are not interested!
WASHINGTON — Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, disclosed on Tuesday that she had made telephone calls to three companies regulated by her department and urged them to help a nonprofit group promote President Obama’s health care law.
She identified the companies as Johnson & Johnson, the drug maker; Ascension Health, a large Roman Catholic health care system; and Kaiser Permanente, the health insurance plan.
At a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Ms. Sebelius said she did not explicitly ask the companies for money, but urged them to support the work of the nonprofit group, Enroll America. (DUH! Really!)
However, Ms. Sebelius said she was following well-established precedents. For example, she said, the Clinton administration established “public-private partnerships” to encourage enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the administration of President George W. Bush worked with pharmaceutical companies and insurers to help Medicare beneficiaries sign up for prescription drug coverage.
Ms. Sebelius said that no federal law prevented her from trying to raise money from companies regulated by her department. However, she said, she voluntarily decided not to make fund-raising appeals to such companies.
Administration officials said previously that Ms. Sebelius had solicited donations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is devoted exclusively to public health, and H&R Block, the tax preparation service, which sees a large role for itself in helping low- and middle-income people apply for tax credits that can be used to buy private health insurance under the law.
Ms. Sebelius confirmed on Tuesday that she had urged the foundation and H&R Block — neither of which is regulated by her department — to “consider making contributions” to Enroll America, which she described as “a private, not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization.”
Administration officials say the health care law needs private support because Congress has provided less money than Mr. Obama requested for a public education and outreach campaign.
Starting in October, consumers can sign up for health insurance options providing coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014, when most Americans will be required to have insurance. Public opinion surveys show that many people who could benefit are unaware of the options.

On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires most people to maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. A majority of the Court also found the ACA’s Medicaid expansion unconstitutionally coercive of states, while a different majority of the Court held that this issue was fully remedied by limiting the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s enforcement authority. The ruling left the ACA’s Medicaid expansion intact in the law, but the practical effect of the Court’s decision makes the Medicaid expansion optional for states.

This policy brief provides background on the Medicaid program and the legal challenge to the Medicaid expansion under health reform, and summarizes the controlling and dissenting opinions of the Court regarding the Medicaid expansion.

Report (.pdf)

See also: Implementing the ACA’s Medicaid-Related Health Reform Provisions After the Supreme Court’s Decision